Social responsibility is a concept that has been garnering an increasing amount of attention in the media. With only a limited amount of money available in the government sector and a tremendous need for assistance by so many legitimate groups desperate for funding, there is an inclination to place an expectation of assistance on outside sources.
A natural place to look for assistance is the business sector. Unfortunately many parts of the corporate world are very unwieldy when it comes to finding creative ways to assist communities. Often larger corporations do not even have a local community in which to focus attention due to the sheer size of the company in question. Since the largest of corporations frequently lack that personal touch, there is a predisposition to move toward individuals who are successful and may be able to help on a more personal level.
Naturally, we look to the best, the most able, the most creative, and the most successful with an appeal of assistance. Who fits that description best? Successful Entrepreneurs. A successful entrepreneur has already creatively found a way to succeed where others have not, and it is natural to assume just such a person can find the ability to help.
Is it the entrepreneur's role to help the community? Is it the social responsibility of the entrepreneur to "give back" to the community? This is a difficult question, but one that will need to be asked by every single entrepreneur. There is no perfect answer; however the most important role for the entrepreneur should always be to keep the business running smoothly and successfully.
By running a successful business, the entrepreneur will be helping the local community by keeping the local economy stimulated, ideally with local dollars and local jobs. However, stimulating the economy alone is not enough for most self aware and successful entrepreneurs. Most are entrepreneurs because they want to be their own cook when it comes to the food they eat, and that includes both the way they operate their business and the way they make a difference in the local community. It is that perspective that allows a successful entrepreneur to work within a philosophy that he or she believes in, and to put passion into the work that he or she does. For example, sometimes having success means walking away from high yield possibilities in order to keep one's integrity intact, for the greater long term business good.
So yes, an entrepreneur has a social responsibility to give back to the community. The entrepreneur needs to first keep the local economy moving with a successfully running business. The entrepreneur should also practice sound business etiquette and bring a higher level of integrity to his or her business practices. This is a social responsibility that will benefit the fabric of the community in ways that can be more significant than the bottom line in a monetary sense. Beyond that, each and every entrepreneur should look inside of his or herself and ask if there is a higher sense of duty to do more. If the answer in their soul is "Yes," then they have a responsibility to follow that calling and make an even greater impact!